Sometimes practicing connection is more important than practicing to perfection.
Show of hands – who attends at least one practice at the studio every week? Until recently, I didn’t really see the importance of attending Pole Practices, but, there are a number of reasons attending practices are invaluable.
First of all – Uninterrupted Time. I have a pole at home and I’ve taken pictures of my cards so I can practice my spins and poses when I have spare time. But in all honesty, with a husband, baby, house and social life, it is a rare occasion that I get to take a dedicated hour to just practice pole uninterrupted. When you sign up and attend a Pole Practice, there is no husband asking for laundry, no baby needing food, no housework waiting to get done and no phone or doorbells ringing. It is an hour for ME! I can just be me and work on me.
Second – Instructor Help. On the rare occasion that I can find dedicated practice time at home, there is no instructor to help me. If I’m staring at my card and can’t remember how to do a move I have to skip it, I can’t just ask for a quick demo. I also don’t have a spotter or crash mat. The more complex my skills get, the less and less I am able to attempt them in my living room. At a Pole Practice an instructor is ready, able and trained to help spot you for those moves you’re not super strong or confident with.
Thirdly – Encouragement. I will never forget my very first Pole Practice. It was semi-private with an Extreme class. Wow! How intimidating! A one class Beginner in a room with four Extreme girls! But you know what? They were SO helpful! When they took breaks between moves or were waiting for a spotter they gave me all kinds of tips and tricks. “I wish I had done ___ when I first started.” “It took me ___ months before I got this trick.” “When I was a Beginner I did ___ everyday and it really helped.” Not one of them thought of me as Just a Beginner. We were all on the same journey and they were excited to help me get a great start!
Fourth – Goal Setting. Sometimes we can lose sight of where we want to go in our pole journey. I can get wrapped up in these five moves I’m really trying to perfect but forget where they lead to. Knee Tucks for instance. Post baby, these things are kicking my butt. Six months and I still can’t get a decent set of these. I often get discouraged and give up on these at home. Then, I walk into a Pole Practice and see Advanced girls taking Knee Tucks into some awesome inverts. Now I have a goal to do at least 10 Knee Tucks a day at home. Don’t give up on your goals and stop your journey!
Fifth – Bonuses and Extras. Every single one of us brings something unique to the studio. Some girls have done physical therapy in the past, some also train at other fitness centers, some have been to other pole studios, some take crossfit or pilates or yoga classes. While this doesn’t tend to come out in structured classes, Pole Practices seem to draw this out. I was talking with a girl about my Diastasis Recti and she shared some helpful exercises her physical therapist gave her after she had her baby. At the end of another practice I saw a girl doing some really cool stretches that looked like they would help my low back which had been sore. She started telling me all about this 8 week yoga class she took in college the specialized in releasing muscle tension. One practice I was sharing a pole with a girl who was taking some classes in Kinesiology. She and I got to talking about Bendy Babe classes and she gave me some tips for foam rolling.
At the end of the hour, a practice isn’t just about perfecting your pole tricks, spins and poses. A Pole Practice is a great opportunity to connect with other sisters in our pole community, get extra help and find encouragement. It’s a fantastic hour to discover more about you and your body’s limits and talents. If you don’t attend regular practices at the studio, take a month and just add four practices to your schedule. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you learn, grow and progress.